October 22nd 2000
From THE DAY magazine
Two British scientists’ report on patients that have survived heart attacks.
LONDON, October 22nd – The soul exists. These words were not said by theologises, but by two British doctors that have analyzed for an entire year, and strictly from a scientific point of view, the cases of patients that have survived to heart attacks.
Peter Fenwick, neuro-physician at the London’s Institute of Psychiatry, and Sam Parnia, a clinical researcher at the Southampton’s Hospital, in a document that was published by the medical magazine “Resuscitation”, hypothesize that the mind is independent from the brain, so the conscience, that is the soul, continues to live after the cerebral death. During the year in which this study has been done, at the Southampton’s General Hospital 63 patients survived to heart attack. Fenwick and Parnia interviewed all of them within a week. Of these, 56 of them had no memories of the time in which they remained without consciousness. Of the other seven that had declared to remember something, only four of them passed the so called Grayson’s Scale, a medical criterion that evaluates the “almost dead” experience. All four of them have talked of experiences of peace and joy, of accelerated time, of loss of the body perception, of a bright light and of the entry in another world. Three of them declared to be non practising Anglicans, the fourth was a Catholic.
From the exam of their clinical documents, Fenwick and Parnia, exclude that the experiences told could be explained with a collapse of the cerebral functions caused by a lack of oxygen. They also exclude that those experiences were caused by a combination of medicines since the techniques of reanimation that are practices in the hospital are the same for all patients. “At first I was sceptic, but after having evaluated all the proofs, I now think that there is something” says Dr. Parnia to the British Sunday paper “the Sunday Telegraph”.
“those people have had these experiences in a condition in which the brain should not have had any type of process or to have any kind of long-lasting memories. This could be the answer to the question that asks if the mind or the conscience are brain products, or if the brain could be a type mind intermediary , that exists independently.” Argues Dr. Parnia. “Therefore” speculates his colleague, ” if the mind and the brain are separated, then the conscience survives the body”. The Anglican Bishop Stephen Sykes, commenting the study says that the discovery is fascinating, but certainly not amazing; while the theologian Geoffrey Rowell underlines that: ” it denies all the material theories that want man as a computer made of meat.